Making sense of the Church after experiencing the Regnum Christi Movement

It doesn't help the Jesuits, the Franciscans, or the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter. It doesn't help the Fransalians, the S.O.L.T. priests or the Cistercians. No pins for the Trappists or the Marists (all of which are in the archdiocese). If you want to help the diocesan seminarians, you also help the Legion. Interesting. August 30, 2009 in Fundraising, RC apostolates | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0) Decompression takes time Many commenters have tried to explain their journey after associating with and supporting the mission of the Legionaries of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement. In fact, if you'll notice and look above, that's exactly the point of this blog. This post gives a very good explanation of the anger of many, and explains their perplexity about why others cannot see what harms the Legion has done (and by the looks of the professions homily, are continuing to do). I'm ... not thinking of anyone in particular here [while pointing out that] there's a lot of pride motivating them to stay in RC right now. Believe me. When I left the employ of the RC, it took me two years to decompress. Initially, I was relieved. But then I realized that I was denying something about myself that I simply did not want to believe: that I could have been sooooo blind and stupid to believe anything they told me in the first place. And to have put my entire family and career at risk was, in hindsight, insane (!). It was such a sad and embarrassingly stupid waste of four years of my time. Then I was angry with myself. Then angry with particular individuals. And then I found a community of support--people who'd come to recognize that they had been abused as I had. And that helped. Alot. Finally--for those of you who are still in RC, please understand some basic facts: Maciel fathered children by two different women and supported them. Maciel was not Jaime Gonzalez or Juan Rivas or whoever he pretended to be to those people. He did not work for some international company, as he claimed. But he sent them money regularly. He paid for their educations. He paid for their food, their clothing, their houses and cars and spending money for bicycles and vacations in the Carribean and trips to Rome to visit with the Pope. Everything; So, he misrepresented himself to you in order to steal from you. And he used Christ to do it. And you, unwittingly, stole from me. You stole my time, my talents, my reputation, and my money. You took food out of my children's mouths and shoes from their feet. You robbed them of a psychologically and spiritually balanced life for years. And I never even joined your organization. I just helped you to build it up. I gave you professional advice. I lent my face to your campaigns. I recommended your school to other like minded Catholic parents who wanting something good and wholesome for their children. And you repaid me by insisting that my children be goaded and pressured to join your RC clubs--without telling me, without asking my permission. You told those children that they had a "vocation" to RC and made them feel guilty if they questioned your wisdom. And when I left, you whispered about "problems at home," or something about too much alcohol, or "we think he stole money from us." But now you want us to understand that the Holy Spirit is still prompting you to stay in your organization because of your pure intentions. Your pure intentions were used by Maciel as a means to perpetuate a huge fraud on the Church. When I realized these things, one of the things I did was contact the Bishop with whom I'd directly consulted to help regularize the relationship between the Legionaries and the local diocese to tell him directly that I never knowingly misrepresented myself or the school for which I worked in my efforts to bring that school into the fold. The Vicar General tracked me down in another state and called me directly to assure me that he and the Bishop knew. That was a huge relief. Anyway, sorry that this is both long and strong but I still don't think that a lot of RC members understand what they've been involved in. August 30, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (36) | TrackBack (0) Confusing the flagship with a stray raft Cheshire CT was the setting for this years professions (29 August, 2009 in Cheshire, CT) in which 35 men took vows -- either first religious vows, renewal of vows, or final vows. We have now an excellent summary of the words of Fr Alvaro Corcuera. As I read through it, my heart sank as I realise how clever, how slick, and how ostensibly orthodox and inspiring his words were. Evidently they were received with joy and enthusiasm -- because it critical thinking skills to dissect them and find the lie. (Here, it would help if you've read the summary.) Pete has done an excellent job of explaining the problem with vague forms of forgiveness, and the only way I can expand on that is to recall my years as a protestant. Pete's point is that doing away with the sacrament of confession eliminates the need to be specific with sins. (When protestants say "I can go directly to God to ask pardon for my defects," they ultimately mean that they can have a little "me and Thee" talk that easily avoids the vocabulary that confession demands. To step into a box and kneel is followed by enumeration of visceral failings, and a good priests probes even further at times.) He then point out that the Legion has yet to be specific about their need for forgiveness, lumping a variety of shortcomings into the overall need for mercy from God and forebearance from fellow Catholics. Since that point is taken care of, I would like to nail the lie at the heart of his homily (and later remarks) that has been part and parcel of the fundamental lie all along, which this weekend was painted with a nautical theme. Fr Alvaro said: We are always grateful to God for the Legion and for the Movement...“Thank you all again. Thank you for being willing all to be in the same boat. In a storm, you love the boat even more.” [Then at the end of Mass he offered more remarks along that theme.] He spoke again of the boat. One section of consecrated women have a model boat and keep thinking, you love the boat even more in a storm. We are safe as apostles in a storm with Christ in the boat. The devil is the enemy of the church and wants to destroy her. We read in the Apocalypse reading a couple weeks ago on the feast of Assumption that the devil swept the stars out of the sky. Let’s not let him sweep the stars out of the sky, but let’s let him sweep the stars all over the sky, so that they give more light to everyone. Um, OK. let's shed light on this. Do you see the clever bait and switch? His initial fawning and gratitude was for the people who attended the event, giving support to the Legion in the midst of their storm; He admitted there were mistakes, and that forgiveness was necessary to stick with the Legion throughout -- thank you! Then he likened the Legion to a boat in the storm, and he likened the people who stuck with the Legion to people in the same boat; Then he shifts to gratitude for being on a boat, because boats save people from drowning; [Here is where the lie creeps in and corrupts the analogy] This gratitude must naturally be given to the Legion itself which he insidiously likens to the Barque of Peter, to which all must look for safety; Then he reiterates the usual truth that the Devil wishes to sink the barque and wants to destroy her; Voila! We have returned to "fidelity to the Movement = fidelity to Christ and His Vicar." No! The only way that the storm can further harm the Church is if Maciel's boat is allowed to continue the scandal. The Barque of Peter is the ony boat with a guarantee, the only boat that the Devil ultimately wants to Barque of Petersink. Maciel is a tool of YKW to the degree that we allow his boat to call itself the flagship of faith, and only as long as we confuse fidelity to it with authentic Catholicism. The Legion's boat is in a storm of Maciel's making, which it then tries to shift into defining as the Devil attacking the Church. You've all heard this before. You've heard the priest tell young men that to walk away from the Legion is to deny Christ; you've heard that to believe the accusations against MM is to be an enemy of the Church; you've heard all the stories about how every attack on the Legion was out of spite by Communists, Fascists, Atheists, or Jesuits (driven by envy). Even as they renounce MM, they refuse to renounce his lie that the Legion is essential to salvation. We cannot let this stand. The good people at Saint Bridget's were duped one more time by the same lie. The Legion does not represent the Church and the devil isn't trying to sweep vocations out of their hands like stars. If anything, the lost faith, broken families and vocations dedicated to the Kingdom of Maciel are the stars swept away from Peter and we want them restored to their rightful place. [Don't miss the adept meteorological analysis over at RCisnotmylife] August 30, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (23) | TrackBack (0) August thoughts The old discussion board had a wealth of material in hundreds of categories, called "threads." One post was saved and published at Regain, which I offer here for its timeliness. It speaks to the difficulties of leaving a group with no preparation or support. August is the worst month ever for me... I’ve been seeing that one part of my depression is transitional, and is probably a common experience for people leaving the Movement/Legion. Today I was reflecting on this conversation (a thread on depression & moving on) as I drove along in my car that needed gas, on my way to the bank as I am working on moving to a new apartment and thinking how much I need a new job. The fact that I could think about those six things at once is proof of how people can multi-task. Anyways, I mention all of those details because they are things I had to worry about immediately after leaving RC. It just was not fair. For the past four years of my life in RC, I had not a concern in the world for the practical aspects in my life except the order in my closet and doing well in my classes, spiritual life, and the apostolate. All of a sudden, I was thrown back into the arms of my family, no money, only my parents to live with, desperately in need of therapy, (an emotional mess) destitute of any spiritual guidance...need I go on? It happened to almost all of us. We were thrown back into lives we barely recognized as our own, they no longer belonged to us anymore, we had given away all our possessions as we never had any intention of coming back, and now we have to rebuild from whatever age we left off. Let me try to organize this: 1. NO MONEY SAVED UP: we had to get money. From the dirt: so much for social security and retirement funds. We’ll be lucky if we can pay for today. I have heard of some people getting a little help, but they assume if your family can take care of you, they need not. But that is not fair because all the money I would have saved during high school and college is not available for me as I was doing God’s work at that time and now have no money saved up. It’s not impossible, but it’s hard. I’m not complaining; I’m just saying that it is a major challenge to catch up with the others in that area. 2. GETTING THE ESSENTIALS: a car, a job, an apartment/house...It is emotionally draining to have to do all of that at once. It is stressful enough for people when they buy their first car. But most people don’t have to do that at the same time they are finishing school, trying to work to make up for the money they didn’t have a chance to save up...Since they have absolutely no idea how to obtain these essentials or where, they feel like lost chickens in the city. Who is going to judge if they are making good decisions or being swindled? Nobody, and especially for those of you who left when you were older than I am, I assume this is a lot harder. How do you get a job? How do you get credit? Everyone assumes that we know this, when business classes were never part of RC formation!!! 3. RETURN TO THE OLD RELATIONSHIPS: just when you thought you had left your family behind for good, and all their problems, God wants them to take care of themselves and not you, (you have a special mission within the LC/RC), you find that you have to go back. My parents are protective. I left home at 16. I returned home 4 years later, just as submissive and meek as ever, because RC did not encourage independence either. I have had to start again on that parental relationship, just as if I was 16 years old, not as the adult I am. The same issues we never dealt with at that age have to be dealt with now. This is exacerbated because of the problem of financial need. 4. RETURN TO THE OLD SELF: I had to go back to me, as I was when I left home, and blend that identity with my 3gf identity and the person I wanted to be in the future. Before someone always told me who to be and I never had to think about that for myself. For the first time, it’s up to me who I am and what I do. It does bring a certain amount of fulfillment with it. Maybe there were parts of myself that I was glad to leave behind. Like my shyness. I think now I have accepted that as part of my personality, that I only want to have a few close friends which are (oh no!) ‘a particular friendship’. For me, this has probably been the most enjoyable portion of the process because I am a person fascinated by the workings of the psyche. But I bet for other people, this area never gets worked out. In the LC/RC, we were taught to ignore our feelings “to swat them away like flies” (direct quote of a consecrated) and that led us to be disconnected from our real selves, our desires, passions, dreams, and ideals. I believe that a lot of people leave and work hard at the other areas - money, the essentials, and their relationships, and forget the one they really are responsible for. I don’t think God is going to ask me if I worked out my money problems so much as if I followed my conscience and the spiritual path he had in mind for me. In Conclusion: My point in this long commentary is that a transitional depression after leaving the Movement is really natural and almost to be expected. Add that on to any symptoms one might still have from the actual experience itself, and you have an overwhelming mess of emotions and facts. All this is going on in one’s own head; with very little guidance as to what to do with it. Rereading my post, I think it sounds angry. I wonder who I am angry at: God? The Church? The Movement? Myself? Or all of the above? Do I chalk it up to fate? Or am I angry that all of us have had to go through it, and not just me? I think the anger comes from the knowledge that there is something wrong in this whole transition from consecrated to secular life, from LC to the world, and it could be handled better. For example, if they were not so secluded, the cultural leap of returning would not be so big, and, er, Olympian. I’m not saying they should change that. It is just food for thought, water under the bridge, fruit for the blender, fuel for the fire, rings on the phone, dead ends on the hair, a twist on the high beam, a color in “The Village,” and a bronze medal where we should have had gold. I’m sorry that this should happen to people, and it would be nice if there was a way to avoid it, foresee it, because if there is anything RC members can do, it is to foresee and prevent. Please remember that her departure was made before any allegations proved true, so inherent in her depression was her inability to indict the Movement of any wrong doing. It had to be her fault at that point. Perhaps on a practical level, all those challenges remain, but maybe now that there is more information (including the depravity and designs of the founder of her group) there is more of a sense that the problems lie with the structure, not the members. One addendum: After a certain point (I'm not sure what that is) I think you can add bishops to that list of where to direct the anger. There are bishops who have done their homework on others who have not. As part of the RI Catholic piece, we read: [Bishop Tobin] said he doesn't have any knowledge about other dioceses' experiences wiht the Legionaries and the worldwide Regnum Christi movement. Well, Your Excellency, there's no harm in asking -- especially when the group has three houses in your diocese, you have a stack of letters from concerned parents and there is enough evidence to have sidelined the founder and open an investigation. Many bishops have gone on record as having banned them, others have done it more quietly, and still more have offered some very harsh thoughts on the subject. Does ecclesial protocol forbid picking up a telephone? August 29, 2009 in Consecration | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) Is this normal? Soliciting some thoughts, dear ones. How many non-LC/RC affiliated schools include this in their student handbook? Gateway reserves the unconditional right to take disciplinary action, suspend, or dismiss any student whose progress or conduct or whose parent's/guardian's conduct (whether or not on Gateway property and under any circumstances), is considered by Gateway in its sole discretion, to be unsatisfactory and/or in noncompliance with the mission of Gateway. Below there is space for the student name, grade and signature, as well as names, date and signatures of both parents. Could be a common enough document that the schools we attend don't happen to use, but then "discretion" is a favourite word with the Legion. Come to think of it, Bob Jones University may operate like this... [Beware -- reading this blog may be in noncompliance with the mission of the school!] August 28, 2009 in Cultish behaviour, Education | Permalink | Comments (20) | TrackBack (0) The Ninth Station Holy Week 2005, The Way of the Cross, meditations led by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger: From the Book of Lamentations. 3:27-32 It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. Let him sit alone in silence when he has laid it on him; let him put his mouth in the dust - there may yet be hope; let him give his cheek to the smiter, and be filled with insults. For the Lord will not cast off for ever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion, according to the abundance of his steadfast love. MEDITATION What can the third fall of Jesus under the Cross say to us? We have considered the fall of man in general, and the falling of many Christians away from Christ and into a godless secularism. Should we not also think of how much Christ suffers in his own Church? How often is the holy sacrament of his Presence abused, how often must he enter empty and evil hearts! How often do we celebrate only ourselves, without even realizing that he is there! How often is his Word twisted and misused! What little faith is present behind so many theories, so many empty words! How much filth there is in the Church, and even among those who, in the priesthood, ought to belong entirely to him! How much pride, how much self-complacency! What little respect we pay to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, where he waits for us, ready to raise us up whenever we fall! All this is present in his Passion. His betrayal by his disciples, their unworthy reception of his Body and Blood, is certainly the greatest suffering endured by the Redeemer; it pierces his heart. We can only call to him from the depths of our hearts: Kyrie eleison – Lord, save us (cf. Mt 8: 25). PRAYER Lord, your Church often seems like a boat about to sink, a boat taking in water on every side. In your field we see more weeds than wheat. The soiled garments and face of your Church throw us into confusion. Yet it is we ourselves who have soiled them! It is we who betray you time and time again, after all our lofty words and grand gestures. Have mercy on your Church; within her too, Adam continues to fall. When we fall, we drag you down to earth, and Satan laughs, for he hopes that you will not be able to rise from that fall; he hopes that being dragged down in the fall of your Church, you will remain prostrate and overpowered. But you will rise again. You stood up, you arose and you can also raise us up. Save and sanctify your Church. Save and sanctify us all. Jesus falls August 28, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) I. Am. Stunned. Part three of the RI Catholic series has hit the mailboxes and the Bishop of Providence has nothing but supportive -- nay, glowing -- remarks about Regnum Christi. It's hard to make clear how long and very very positive this entire segment is, for here are but a few limited excerpts [because I'm a pathetic typist]: While some bishops have barred the Legion of Christ from their diocese, Bishop Thomas J. Tobin hopes that the congregation and its three-affiliated schools will remain in Rhode Island and expand their apostolates in diocesan parishes. "I certainly don't have any desire or hope for them to leave the diocese, the bishop emphasized. "I think that their presence here is good. I think they do provide some spiritual resources for us. They provide some assistance for our parishes, but I would hope that the visitation that they're going through would open that up and expand it even more because we can benefit from their presence and I think that they can grow to be even more productive in the future." He did, however, acknowledge that the diocese has received a few inquiries from parents expressing concern for their consecrated daughters serving in the local Regnum Christi schools. "The inquiries we have received I've given over to the Vice Chancellor to follow up on and he's had some contact with the parents," the bishop continued. "We are certainly anxious to help, but there are limitations to what we can do. Even when parents have contacted us about their daughters, their daughters are adults and that limits what we can do and what we have to do." Bishop Tobin described his personal experience with the three schools, all of which he has visited, as "fine." He added: "I do think it would serve them well to be a little more transparent and a little more open about their work and in particular, if the priests could relate more to our parishes, I think that it would go a long way to dispelling some of the mystery too, because I think that even the priests are a mystery to some of our other priests." "The more they can do to make their story known, to be more transparent, to welcome people to their facilities, to get the young ladies out there and helping -- the more they can do that is to their benefit." Then there is mention of the existing parishes where they help out with catechism programs. There is praise from those pastors, there is praise for Ancora, for the door-to-door visitations, for the Challenge Girls' Club, for the Christmas carols they sing, and then glowing quotes from a variety of priests. There is the news that the consecrated women will be expanding their works to more parishes and even the diocesan Office of Vocations. "We're growing," [Deb Bauer] said. "My focus is to meet priests and religious education leaders and let people really know who we are." Um, with this enthusiastic blessing from the local Ordinary, how could any pastor say no? How could anyone have a problem with a group so perfect? How could the parents fail to feel their daughters are in good hands? What does it do with the stack of testimonies of women crushed by their years with the 3GF's? But moreover, why didn't the diocese put this segment on their web-site, like the others? I cannot help but picture the thousands of hits our links created, and sadly, until they do, you'll have to rely on my much abbreviated clips from the overall fawning piece. My takeaway from reading it is that these women are adults, they're quite helpful, and we've done all we "have to do." Evidently no letters to the editor, dear readers. Perhaps you didn't have the address: ADDENDUM: there is an additional box highlighting a parish priest who was previously a Legionary. Father Angelo Carusi said "the five years he spent as a member of the Legion of Christ were good and provided a solid foundation. 'It was a very well rounded spiritual formation,' he recalled... [He] said that once he began to contemplate returning to the diocese ... the only reservation that his Legion of Christ superiors had was that he would have a diocese to return to and continue his studies for the priesthood. 'I had no trouble leaving,' he remembered. 'The transition was very easy. Bishop Gelineau welcomed me home very warmly." Now if we look at those specific years (1989-1994) we might suspect that the introduction of RC to the diocese right around that time and the fact that Bishop Gelineau was himself incorporated into the Movement may have played a factor -- in that the Legion didn't want any negative PR to effect the relationship. But then that would be cynical, wouldn't it? I need to go take a long walk. ICING ON THE CAKE: Picture of three smiling Ancora girls with t-shirts that read: "Got Happiness? Follow Your Vocation! [worn with skirts, of course] August 28, 2009 in Consecration, RC apostolates | Permalink | Comments (115) | TrackBack (0) Assessing the real mission As Father Alvaro and other Legion superiors are dispersed around the country edifying the troops to soldier on for Christ, we have to remember what is underneath the surface of this group. Years ago, when the Legion enjoyed the unabashed support of the Vatican, I likened the MM phenomenon to The Great Santini: It would not be a stretch to see Maciel as the “Great Santini,” outwardly a beacon of discipline, responsibility, and heroic virtue – stepping in to save the Church much as the Marines are seen as the backbone of the military. His “children” are model citizens of the Kingdom, smart, talented and obedient ... The fellow officers adore Santini for his contribution to the Corps, just as other priests and bishops in the Church admire Maciel (unless they take the time to look too closely), ... The wife sees his defects, but covers for him – just as the Church has covered for Maciel and perversely glossed over or explained away the abuse in her own home. While the appearances were deceiving, now everyone knows that MM was a polar opposite to the heroic Marine. But what of the children. How were they formed and what are they going through inwardly? Children in Regnum Christi aspostolates are not encouraged to develop their unique talents and interests, but herded into vocation discernment events and pressured to “be generous with God” – through the Legion, of course. Those who try desperately to communicate with their spiritual directors about their inability to sense a vocation are ignored, called selfish, or sent home in disgrace with a profound feeling of failure. It calls to mind the scenes where Santini wouldn’t listen to his son, but walked behind him – yelling insults and bouncing a basketball off his head; or the heart-rending conversation the daughter had, which ended with her screaming at her father, while he calmly read the evening newspaper, ignoring every word. Some young men and women have recently come home for short periods of discernment. The burden placed on them before they left was that if they were "strong enough" they would return to the Movement. This gives them two bad options: return to the group with its toxic formation, or remain on the outside with a hidden brand of "failure." There is a third option: to come home for a year and to honestly invoke the Holy Spirit while talking to diocesan officials, members of other religious orders and family members about their legitimate concerns. Weigh all these things and hold fast to what is good. While the Legion tars them as enemies of the Church or lightweight aspostles, you may find remarkable wisdom and measure to their outlook. Simply give them a chance, and for the Spirit to speak through them. Carrying on in battle without honestly assessing the terrain can be deadly, and there is no need to fear their opinions. We are not a Church based on fear but on truth. Fundamental to God's truth is that sometimes the best of intentions to spread the Gospel go awry or are untenable because of the actions of others. In this case, the Gospel cannot effectively be carried on the shoulders of a group oblivous to the shattered lives in its wake. Just as Bernard Cardinal Law cannot be a powerful advocate for some causes (no matter how good his intentions) a man in a Legionary cassock dons with it a rucksack full of stones. With the inherent uphill battle for souls, the Church needs the most nimble and unencumbered apostles. The children of the Great Santini had choice. They could remain in their father's shadow and lead compromised lives, or they could step away, heal and be free of him. That freedom is available to all of us. Santini August 28, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (19) | TrackBack (0) Just like junior high As the AV stirs up memories and causes many to relive past experiences through a different lens, I've pondered a few incidents with wonder. How did a normally well-rounded woman come to do such silly, out-of-character things? Well, with "holy audacity" for the Kingdom (as defined by the RC Rock Stars). We heard of one girl whose father worked for a Mexican political group. When they were out of power, he had to leave the country and the entire family moved to Chile (until he was back in favour, or something). While she was there -- roughly age 15 -- she went to work and brought 3,000 kids into ECyD. She built it with her zeal for souls, dagummit! There were the other stories of those who didn't let "human respect" get in the way of vocations, and the ones who were never too proud (or lazy) to let something founder for lack of generosity. After one women's conference, we were so jazzed (complete with resolution to do something for God on the way home) that I brazenly began a conversation with the young man next to me on the plane, asking if he'd considered the priesthood. No -- you're going to medical school? No matter, have you thought about...? MY DEAR READERS: I didn't even know if he was Catholic! He was squirming, trying to read his book, looking out the window, and bolted as soon as the wheels hit the tarmac. I was so tickled with myself at the time, and now? And now, I am appalled, horrified, embarrassed (for us both) and mystified. What was I thinking? Ah well. There are more events that I'll just have to live down -- just like my entire wardrobe for roughly twelve years. When kids act like kids, we give them slack, knowing that the maturation process takes some time. When young teens at their first mixer giggle and spend most of their time with the girls in the bathroom, it's understandable. And when members of RC do outrageous things in the name of "building the kingdom," I will just put it in its own category. Sort of like polyester. We meant well. Family1970s August 27, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0) Family ties Over the last several decades, many families sent off young boys and girls to camps, retreats, apostolic schools, and houses of formation with the Legion. Since the calendar revolves around the Church, her sacraments and the truths of the faith, it would appear to be a solid formation on every level. Now that we've discerned that a cult can subsist within the Church, parents (and former members) might want to know what was at the heart of the formation that caused such rifts, such pain and such confusion in family circles. Why did these beloved children become secretive, distant and unattached? Why was there such an unevenness of application, so that Brother Michael was allowed this but Brother Juan was not? Why was Maria's family praised to the skies and Chloe's family kept at arms' length? II. Relations with family 142. Before permitting visits to the family home on those occasions predetermined by chapter communication, the superior should always analyze the family environment, or any other environment that may be encountered, in such a way that he can take the necessary steps to safeguard the religious spirit of our charges. 143. It remains at the discretion of the territorial director, after consultations with the center’s rector or the novice instructor, whether or not to permit an apostolic, for serious reasons and in extraordinary cases, to attend the baptism, first communion or confirmation of a sibling. This permission can only be granted if the religious ceremony takes place in the same city where the vocational center of novitiate is located. The apostolic or novice should return to the center after exchanging greetings with his family. 144. The instructor may permit a novice to attend professions of religious vows or priestly ordinations of his siblings if these ceremonies take place in the same country where the novice is residing and if he is certain that the atmosphere will be appropriate and beneficial for the novice. This visit shall last one day. 790. Very carefully observe the norm of writing to your family at least once a month, as a sign of affection and gratitude, and with the goal preventing conflict-laden situations for the Legion. 791. Take advantage of these opportunities to spread the Gospel among your family members and to help them live their Christian lives better every day. 792. Also take advantage of these occasions to help your family members understand and better love the gift of the priestly vocation and to give them a greater knowledge, respect and love for the charism that God has given to the Church in the Legion. Article 3. Dealings with family 514.1 Live your consecration with a sense of removal as it relates to dealings with your family and try to fundamentally channel this relationship into conquering them for Christ. 2. Love your own family with rectitude and show this love through a healthy concern for their Christian life and by frequently including them in your prayers. 515. Try not to ever compromise the Movement or the Directors in those situations in which the requirements of your own family are not in harmony with the discipline of consecrated life. Instead, make them aware of the norms that govern your dealings with them and motivate them to accept them to a large degree so that parents or relatives do not become enemies of the Movement out of ignorance. 516.1. All those who live in the same country where their parents reside may, with the authorization of the center’s director, visit them twice a year on the occasion of name days and birthdays, except in the year of formation. 2. All those whose apostolate is in a country different from where their parents reside may visit them for a period of fifteen days every seven to ten years as proscribed in no. 495.1. 3. When it becomes necessary due to extraordinary circumstances to make travel to the country where the family resides, it remains solely up to the General Director to grant permission and to decide on the length of the stay. If it is a trip within the country, it is the responsibility of the Territorial Director to grant this extraordinary permission. 517. Being conscious of your participation in a Movement in communion with superior life founded by Christ, learn to elevate familial love to the spiritual plane, where the ultimate and more complete sense of natural bonds are manifested, offering up to Our Lord God in good spirit the sacrifices that are derived from this. 518.1. Without permission of the center’s Director: 1. Do not have dealings with relatives more frequently than has been proscribed. 2. Do not meddle directly or indirectly in the affairs of your own family by procuring recommendations, money or similar things from them. 3. Do not bother relatives or strangers by asking them for clothing or other items for personal use, even if they are necessary, as proscribed in no. 400.2. 2. Center Directors shall grant these permissions only in exceptional cases and for the most serious cause. 519. When two third degree siblings belonging to different branches of the Movement reside in the same city, they may visit each other once every three months. These visits shall take place in a third degree center of the female branch. The duration of these visits should not exceed two and a half hours. Since almost everything is left to the discretion of superiors, I would think a member would detach from even his deepest desire (visits, exchanges with loved ones) because: 1. to put one's hope in something beyond his control is to set him/herself for disappointment; 2. to express a desire is to show a lack of docility to the will of God. The overall sense is that the Legion is the new family/priority and that the family of origin becomes an "apostolic project." They can either support the Movement or be an obstacle, and they will be treated accordingly. The Legion, in sum, is the filter and yardstick of everything else that was previously a part of its members lives. The lowly member eventually shuts down emotionally as a survival mechanism. [Please note: I am currently reading the biography of Saint Isaac Jogues, who left his family for good when sent to the Canadian missions, was permitted to write to them once a year, and elevated his love for them to the spiritual plane. I read it with the Legion in the back of my head (sadly, no fun) and am entirely aware of MM's use of the Jesuits as a model in many things. Still, knowing the integrity of MM as compared to that of Saint Ignatius makes all the difference. Perhaps it's not what's written on paper that matters but the intention/machination behind each rule.] Returning home, no doubt, is very very hard for everyone. With the Legion (the new family) disgraced and so tainted, a sacred trust has been betrayed. Reconstructing burned bridges is a daunting project -- especially for those who are depressed and utterly confused. We'll add this to our growing prayer list. August 27, 2009 in Cultish behaviour | Permalink | Comments (22) | TrackBack (0) Read it and weep We weep for the lost years, the lost vocations to truly serve the faithful and for the scandal to Holy Mother Church, but we cannot let this slip down the memory hole: Rome/February 28, 1997 Mr. Clifford L. Teutsch Managing Editor The Hartford Courant 285 Broad Street Hartford, CT 06115 Dear Mr. Teutsch, Regarding the accusations made against me in the Hartford Courant of Sunday, February 23, I wish to state that in all cases they are defamations and falsities with no foundation whatsoever, since during the years these men were in the Legion never in any way did I commit those acts with them, nor did I make any such advances to them nor was the suggestion of such acts ever mentioned. During the time that these men were in the Legion of Christ and even after they had left, I spared no sacrifice to help them as much as I could-as I have always done with every person the Lord has put under my care. I do not know what has led them to make these totally false accusations 20, 30 and 40 years after leaving the congregation. I am all the more surprised since I still have letters from some of them well into the 1970s in which they express their gratitude and our mutual friendship. Despite the moral suffering that this has caused me I bear no ill will toward them. Rather I offer my pain and prayers for each one of them, in hope that they will recover their peace of soul and remove from their hearts whatever resentment has moved them to make these false accusations. Yours respectfully in Christ, Marcial Maciel, L.C. Visual aid here with expanded lies. I know confrontations are unpleasant, but these are essential portions of the Legion's MO. They have to be held accountable. August 27, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (30) | TrackBack (0) The alternate universe of MM While exLC has posted as series of clips of an interview with the lawyer representing some of MM's children, those who don't speak Spanish have been locked out while awaiting a translation. [Update: much of the work appears here in summary form.] Meanwhile I'll offer this snippet that shows the colour of the sky in MM's world. On June or July of 1997, José (Maciel's favorite son among the three González children) received a phone call from his father, who told him: "José, shortly someone is going to come home and deliver to you some money. I want you to take a cab and go out to all the neighborhood newstands, and with this money go out and buy every single issue you can find of the news magazine CONTENIDO. Lo and behold, minutes later someone arrives with a large sum of money. José does as his father requested and acquires a "good bunch of magazines," and he notices that the cover of the magazine is graced with his father's picture. José proceeds to read the article, and he then finds out about his father's double life. But when José gets home, he doesn't say anything to his mother or his brothers, because he simply doesn't know how to "process this information." Hours later, someone (not clear whether it's one person or more) arrives at José's door with several luggage pieces, they put the magazines in the luggage, and the person or persons leave with the luggage filled with the magazines. Later in the year, 1997, José tells his mother about his finding, and trouble ensues -- family problems. The boys start asking their father "indiscreet" questions, but "in one or another way he solves the situation, with that skill of his to face, seduce and convince people; and he takes advantage of the close, loving relationship he had with his children, giving some absurd explanation, and moves on with this life." Now I've heard of some elaborate plans that men make to "pop the question." For the rich, there is the outdoor dinner at a café precisely timed to witness a private plane pulling a banner overhead: "Sally, Will You Marry Me?" For the less affluent, there's a little black box delivered by the waiter along with dessert. I'm trying to say that I know people have been known to reveal exciting news in clever ways, but I find this bizarre. It's probably all in keeping with the diagnostic manual for Malignant Narcissistic Personality Disorder, but traumatic for a kid whose learning that his father is the worst of tools. To extrapolate further, if this is the mind behind that sick joke, imagine the thought he put into the Norms of Legionary Behaviour. August 26, 2009 in LC/RC personality | Permalink | Comments (59) | TrackBack (0) The Legion and education Many interested parties are watching the Apostolic Visitation for a variety of reasons, but few as compelling as the curiosity about the Legion's schools. According to the Legion's propaganda (I use the word in the strictest sense, not as a pejorative) there are numerous universities, academies and schools (totalling hundreds) that make dissolution problematic, and there is generally a wringing of the hands over all the institutions that will hang in the balance of any decision. Now, from the Legion's main site, we have the philosophical underpinnings: We have to let Jesus Christ reign in man’s heart, mind, and life. The specific mission of the educational institutions of the Legion and Regnum Christi is to form integral people, working together with their families, so that they will be leaders of positive action and convinced builders of the civilization of justice and love according to the principles of Christian humanism. This is the ideal summed up in the motto “Integer Homo”. Our educational program has three specific objectives: To teach: To pass on the cultural and scientific knowledge required for the student to be able to respond to society’s current demands. To educate: To help the students so that they learn to think and reason rigorously; discover and admire beauty; cultivate their sensitivity, memory, and imagination; and foster their capacity for self-expression in speech and writing. To form: To help the student become a man for others, open to human and transcendent values, with an upright ethical sense, aware of others’ needs, especially those of the most needy in society. In this way, the students will be prepared not only for professional success, but will be able to fulfill themselves as authentic Christians in their family and social life. On the Oak International site, we have more background, which is impressive, but while they talk a good game, where does the rubber hit the road? Is the education equal to its hype? I have a few anecdotes which I'll toss out, and then I'll add some feedback already received. Many of the schools are not accredited by the governing secular bodies; Much of the time in schools is spent reading in-house documents and studying LC/RC materials and history; There is an enormous turnover rate in teachers and staff; There are many teachers who may not be adequately trained or accredited; Recruitment to LC/RC activities is paramount, and SD is often offered during class time; Of gravest concern is the limited access to truly great classical works of art and literature. As examples of that last bullet, we find: "I had heard that RC consecrated (and seminarians?, don't know) are given titles, authors, and plot summeries to memorize in order to be able to appear to be culturally conversant." "I'm given to understand from previous posts and commentary that the 3GF's do not really study the arts or humanities in any depth but rather are exposed to little snippets of such to make good conversation and win over souls (by giving the impression that they are well read). This information is especially disturbing if true at the high school (ie precandidacy) level. These young women should have a decent prep school education and, after all, that's what the precandidacy program purports to give them. "The irony here is that these guys presumably are working to re-Christianize our culture. How can they do that if they don't even have any sense of what a Christian culture once looked like?" "I mentioned to my spiritual directress if I could read 'Brothers Karamazov' during the summer discernment program, and she told me reading novels would be distracting. Also, she had never heard of it and would have to ask LC headquarters in Rome if it was on the 'acceptable for consecrated to read' list." [What novels are on that list? G.] "Often LCs and RCs talk of excellence about their universities. I checked university rankings for joke, discovering LC universities are placed quite down. In a rank of first 6000 universities in the world Anahuac was 2231, Francisco de Vitoria 5101, APRA 4432, UER and Finis Terrae not present." On that last note, I would bring up that comment months ago (cannot find it) that said that Anahuac students promised to spend a certain amount of their time at the school raising funds and volunteering for the Movement. [Anyone want to elaborate? G.] Now since the schools weren't cutting the mustard with the standard ranking bodies, they have found alternate entities that will give them awards, so that LC/RC schools are the best of the best even while nearly new and with small (and revolving) student bodies. [Nota bene: the relationship between Acton and the Legion hasn't been clarified, but Gateway Academy was said to be one of the best 50 (yes fifty!) Catholic High Schools in the US, and yet it couldn't maintain its enrollment and has since closed.] To be honest, most of this was flogged nearly to death on the ancient ex-legionaries discussion board which the Legion sued out of existence. For the benefit of 1. the good souls who didn't wander there while still convinced of the goodness of the Movement and 2. the parents who have yet to discern where to educate their children in the coming years, perhaps folks who have been formed in the Legionary system could speak to how well their education served them in the wider world. August 26, 2009 in Education | Permalink | Comments (21) | TrackBack (0) Take comfort From today's Morning Prayer (Psalm 35): Evil whispers to the sinner in the depths of his heart: the fear of God does not stand before his eyes. Evil’s flattering light disguises his wickedness, so that he does not hate it. His words are false and deceitful, he no longer considers how to do good. Even when in bed he plots mischief; he follows the wrong path; he does not hate malice. Lord, your mercy fills the heavens, your faithfulness rises to the sky. Your justice is like the mountains of God, your judgements are like the deeps of the sea. Lord, you protect both men and beasts. How precious is your kindness, O God! The sons of men will take shelter under your wings; they will eat their fill from the riches of your house, drink all they want from the stream of your joy. For with you is the spring of life-giving water. In your light we shall see true light. Hold out your mercy to those who know you, offer your justice to the upright in heart. Let me not be crushed under the heels of the proud, nor dispossessed by the hands of sinners. The doers of evil have fallen where they stood, they are cast down and cannot rise. That we all may be purified in our intentions. [As an aside, it has always grieved me that the 3GF's don't pray any portion of the Liturgy of the Hours. Surely they are lay and it's not required, but it's the prayer of the Church they purport to serve and the backbone of authentic consecrated life.] August 26, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) We've found an apology! A ranking Legionary has issued a written apology. To whom? It is not to the victims molested for so long and subsequently maligned. It is not to the offspring conceived in sin and deprived of authentic fatherly love. Nor is it to the Church that is no doubt agonising over how to respond in a way that provides justice while safeguarding the many precious vocations and immortal souls hanging in the balance. Thy Kingdom Come! Dear Regnum Christi brothers and sisters in Christ, I want to thank you for all your prayers during these difficult times. I would like to reach every one of you to ask for forgiveness for all the hurt you are going through, especially this year dedicated to the priest who ministers God´s mercy. I know that time will heal and the grace of Christ, who is always with us as a good Friend, will never abandon us. This is his work and we are only his instruments. With this in mind I am pleased to announce that Fr. Alvaro, our general director of the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi, will be in Atlanta on Thursday, August 27th and celebrate mass for us. The mass will be at Pinecrest at 7pm and an informal reception will follow at the Upper School Dining Hall. I am very grateful to Father Alvaro for his visit. Thank you for all your hard work and support. Keep praying for us! Yours in Christ and the Movement, Fr. Emilio Diaz-Torre, LC Local Coordinator of Apostolate, Atlanta "Keep praying for us!" Not for the victims, for the children or for the Church. The apology goes to the benefactors and workers in the Legion's vineyard who may be ambivalent about future plans. God is with the movement and will never abandon it. Here in all its glory is certitude that smacks of presumption, combined with the audacity to confuse a field of grain with the very locusts who devour it. August 25, 2009 in LC/RC personality | Permalink | Comments (34) | TrackBack (0) The "Real McCoy?" The annual Rimini Meeting is underway and it promises to follow the normal awesome trajectory that is Communion and Liberation. I've had no truck with that group, but where it intersects with our thoughts here concerns a couple of the speakers who will appear: namely Mary Ann Glendon and Jeb Bush. I have sincere admiration for both of them, but what is more important is the "branding" that Regnum Christi has tried to do by associating them with their movement -- simply because they spoke at past conferences. Here it becomes obvious that such luminaries speak when paid to interested audiences who gather to hear them. Novel. 700,000 is an undreamed of number in Legion circles, no matter what continent or event. It is par for C&L who doesn't (to my understanding) present itself as the Hope of the Church or God's Will for the New Millennium. They are simply joyful Catholics who want to bat about the notion that, "Knowledge is Always an Event" (this year's topic). [Odd glitch: the Zenit link (RC) doesn't work. No matter -- we get the drift.] August 25, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) Priority: Atlanta Most people are aware that the demographics of the country reveal a great shift to the south -- both the southeast and the southwest. Combined with the exploding number of immigrants from Latin America, the Catholic Church is booming in that region. Whereas the north has many older parishes -- often neighbourhood and ethnic churches that are smaller, rather clannish and often physically close to one another -- the growing metropolises of the south have spawned "mega-parishes" (similar to the protestant mega-churches) that have thousands of young, dynamic families. Thus it is no wonder that the Legion is focusing on these cities for its recruitment, for the sake of "efficacy" (a strong component of the methodology). Atlanta, in particular, has been a locus of attention. While younger than the Washington, DC section, Atlanta has surpassed it in numbers, apostolates and enthusiasm (except for those areas that require access to the unique power-brokers only to be found in the nation's capitol). Pinecrest Academy was built by an amazing group of dedicated families and their hard work is to be commended. If only it were on behalf of ... someone else's vision of faith. Regardless, the normal growth sequence ensued on schedule and now there is a thriving high school to crown the long years of fidelity. Enter Fr Alvaro Corcuera, who is visiting the school later this week for the Mass noted here. One cannot help but speculate on what the Legion may have envisioned: Pinecrest operating beautifully and feeding into Southern Catholic College up the road, giving great impetus to the hope that "the South will rise again." Or not. It's nearly impossible to gauge how the AV and the LC's response to it is being received by the rank and file, but there are indications that the mood is a little sour. It helps the Legion that Georgia (as of late) was ranked 49th out of 50 states in its public education outcomes, so there are few options to those who are looking for private schools. The timing of the AV and the requisite and timely school deposits everywhere have sent families scrambling (and praying) about such decisions. We wish all these students the very best in their academic and wider pursuits, but it is a grave cause for concern to have the Catholic revival in Atlanta so closely tied to the fortunes of this unfortunate congregation. Stand by to hear how the General Director approaches "the late great unpleasantness" and then we'll see how his words are received as well. On site observations are most welcome. UPDATE: Space is limited, so that an email was sent out asking only for "friends and members of the Regnum Christi movement in the Atlanta area." In fact, the notice seems to be an "anti-invitation": [W]e are not able to accommodate the whole Pinecrest community. We just wanted to make you aware of his visit. Passwords and secret decoder rings required at the door. Perhaps we'll get no first-hand observations. August 25, 2009 in Education | Permalink | Comments (18) | TrackBack (0) What do women want? A remarkably astute exRC has begun a blog in order to unravel her thoughts, and she's begun brilliantly. Her post on New Woman (an RC apostolate) recalls our shared enthusiasm for a work that purported to seriously look at the new feminism that was related to JP2, Edith Stein and the theology of the body. Our disillusionment followed shortly thereafter as she notes: Assigned to the project were various consecrated who were lightweights — no formal studies in feminism, anthropology or even theology — and they set out to start a Web site and write articles. There were actually some consecrated members of RC who would have been phenomenal for the project, but they weren’t assigned to it. Those who spent the most time on the project were the very active types—those better at fundraising than giving an articulate talk about what JPII meant by the “genius of woman.” They also held a congress later that year attended by none other than Mary Ann Glendon herself, a great friend and faithful supporter of the Legion. Glendon is by no standard a lightweight, and her involvement with this New Woman project always kind of surprised me. Serious new feminists were intrigued by the project, but were quick to distance themselves once they realized those involved were heavy on rhetoric and activism and light on ideas. Articulating a new feminism, as the RC failed to recognize, isn’t about organizing congresses, political campaigns, or fundraisers, or even about making contacts, it’s about sitting down and reading and writing and thinking and discussing. It’s hard work, and it’s an academic pursuit. The Legion failed to send even one consecrated member to formally study feminism at any type of credible university. vrhush brasilvr realgirlsnow risckysroom frocktheworld knockedoutjerkedoff boys cam live timsuck I know somewhere in my basement I have a book dedicated to this energetic start that seemed to go nowhere, so now I'll switch into Pure Speculation Mode. I cannot find the New Woman website, but I know it existed for years -- in a manner that clearly spoke of neglect (to those experienced surfers who recognised outdated links and stale material). What did rise from its simmering coals that hadn't quite turned to ash was ENDOW. Now my PSM (please!) recognises ENDOW as an RC front group. It's headed by an RC woman (she revealed it to me before she knew I'd left the Movement) and its ranks are scattered with co-workers (in cognito) and others associated with RC. What I think happened was that the ink on the Legion began to turn a little negative, just enough that the apostolates began to morph into new identities: ECyD became Challenge and ConQuest, the younger kids were shuffled into K4J, Gospel Reflections added some window dressing and the energy spent on New Woman was redirected to ENDOW. Its board was stacked with all sorts of A-list thinkers -- not to mention women who had no links whatsoever to RC. It appeared "ecumenical" while still being under the complete control of RC. (Remember what counts: the mailing list and the bank accounts.) ENDOW's materials are solid -- no complaint there, but it becomes obvious from the website that the well-heeled would be far more comfortable than the frumpy, overworked mother of eight. The airbrushed and cheery photos would intimidate anyone who had to deal with a mother with Alzheimers, an unemployed husband or children experimenting with hair dyes and creative piercings. Added to that, the luncheons and spas wouldn't quite mesh with conversations more fitted for exasperated confessionals or late night crying jags. But God loves all the women -- the boomers and the ones feeling they may have gone bust. Both need to be formed. It's the gloss and spin in ENDOW that worry me, from a group that isn't quite upfront about its ... endowment. August 25, 2009 in RC apostolates | Permalink | Comments (20) | TrackBack (0) The buck stops here Swiped from a combox at 12 year old kids in the "apostolica" are totally locked down. They dont know about maciels news, not even he fathered a daughter. Will the visitation force the Legion to close the apostolic centers?? Its simply diabolic that the legion still wants to brainwash kids to join their lines. Im from Mexico, ex-RC and desperate to reach my friends (legionary priests, brothers and consacrated men and women) to tell them about whats happening. Im sure they dont know the reality and im afraid to email or write them. What can i do??? You know, at a certain point, one has to stop blaming the Church. What parents would leave twelve-year-olds in these schools given the wealth of information even in the mainstream press? What father wouldn't beat down a door and take Manuel or Pedro by the hand and head for home? This brings home the ultimate truth that we have to use some sort of common sense about the formation of our children and stop handing them over to the nice young men in cassocks (or the sweet ladies who always smile). Let's re-engage the grey matter, friends. MM and his children August 24, 2009 in Discernment | Permalink | Comments (15) | TrackBack (0) The Legion won't go down alone Many have been pointing out the painful fact that the Legion is still peddling MM's works. (Imagine, a "Supreme Pack" includes the letters of Fr. Maciel, Envoy books 1-4, Christ is my Life, "Apostles of the New Evangelization," "Time & Eternity," "Gospel Charity," and "Deminsions [sic] of your Christian Apostolic Vocation"). But the site also includes this: Jubilee_boundAt Pentecost 1998, Pope John Paul II called all the lay movements together. This video show scene St. Peter's Square during that event and the meeting with Fr. Marcial Maciel, LC and Regnum Christi members. 40 Minutes I recall it well, for I was there. During the day, many movements were honoured and four founders addressed the enormous crowd. Lest the RC's think they were a second-class group, word passed to meet later at an appointed time at the left of the square. Then, we were brought inside and around to the Vatican gardens, where JP2 addressed us personally in Our Lady's grotto. Phenomenal -- heady stuff. I am convinced to this day that key personnel kept critical information from him, but no matter. The Legion had scored a public relations coup that kept me nailed to the mission for another two years. Then I slipped away quietly to piece together my case against the group. My point is that if the Legion goes down, it will do all in its power to take down the reputation of a good pope along with it. Just as a sinking ship sucks down anything remotely nearby, those close to the group will feel the effects of its demise. The Legion has always played hardball, and this will be no different. UPDATE: Well, squeaky wheel and all that. I know this site gets thousands of hits daily and other blogs were linking to the Integral Formation site as well, so the Legion has removed the links, making it harder to buy the selected works of MM. I suppose that's a net positive, though I don't know how much of a "prophet" we've denied them. The Southern Catholic appeal and the 3GF's are going to have to pick up the slack in the meantime. HumanvaluesUPDATE II: Where there's a will, there's a way. Those who still want to buy the letters of MM can do so here. There are individual options, as well as the gift pack. (You may notice the Pilgrim Queen in the web address. For more information on that apostolate, go here.) The lovely tradition that some Catholics have carried on -- providing a Marian image -- to a family for a week for special devotions and graces is honoured in Regnum Christi for a fee. (ENGLISH) Mary, heart of the Sacred Family, wishes to enter into your home. Receive her in the bosom of your family and allow her to accompany you in your daily life. Listen to her words: “Am I not here, your Mother?” Join the prayer of many families spread throughout the world who pray the Rosary, every day, in front of an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. KIT INCLUDES: • Shrine with the image Our Guadalupe and bag • Rosary • Prayer guidebook • Commitment letter • Monthly Theme guidebook Usually ships within 48 hrs. Mary will come to your home for roughly $50, and then you're asked to invite other families to share in the prayers. I really wish I could look at this dispassionately, but there's always an angle, always a twist to benefit LC coffers and recruiting rolls. August 24, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (31) | TrackBack (0) What's in an address? Dear old Diogenes tosses up more wry remarks about the clergy which happen to impact our understanding of the Legion's sway in Rome. Noting that Cardinal Keeler has only relinquished the keys to the Ordinary's residence in Baltimore two years after being replaced, Diogenes outlines a precedent: Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the former Vatican Secretary of State, arranged to have his retirement delayed for several weeks after it was officially announced, so that Vatican bureaucrats would have ample opportunity to pay their respects before he left town. Except that he didn't leave town. His replacement, Cardinal Tarciso Bertone, waited and waited for Sodano to vacate his office. Then he waited still longer for his predecessor to move out of his apartment. Now approaching his 82nd birthday, nearly three years after his official retirement, Cardinal Sodano remains in Rome, still holding on to his spot as dean of the College of Cardinals, still pulling strings at the Vatican. Cassandra painstakingly connects the dots here. This unbecoming cage match on Vatican Hill is no doubt a cause of grief to Our Lord and Our Lady. Do hasten its end (for the benefit of all souls) with your prayers. August 24, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0) Co-founders of what? [guest post by a concerned observer] The invaluable Pete Vere (Catholic Light blog) has provided a link recently to a list (actually 2) of red flags to look for when considering membership in a group within (or without) the Church. The first fifteen items were originally compiled by Fr. Francis G. Morrisey (whom, I believe is a canonist). The additional five items were formulated by cult expert, Dr. Michael Langone. Fr. Morrisey's list: 1. “Total” obedience to the pope 2. No sense of belonging to the local church 3. Lack of true cooperation with diocesan authorities 4. Making use of lies and falsehoods to obtain approval 5. Too soon an insistence on placing all goods in common 6. Claiming special revelations or messages leading to the founding of the group 7. Special status of the founder or foundress 8. Special and severe penances imposed 9. Multiplicity of devotions, without any doctrinal unity among them 10. Promotion of “fringe” elements in the life of the Church 11. Special vows 12. Absolute secrecy imposed on members 13. Control over the choice of confessors and spiritual directors 14. Serious discontent with the previous institute of which certain members were part 15. Any form of sexual misconduct as a basis Dr. Langone's list: 1. The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members 2. The group is preoccupied with making money 3. Elitism 4. The leadership induces feeling of guilt in members to control them 5. The group completely severs its members from the outside world Go to this link to review list and read Mr. Vere's explanation and commentary. I think it not fanciful to conclude that the Legionaries (as well as RC consecrated who live in community) exhibit numbers 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 11, 12, 13 from Morrisey's list and all five items from Langone's list. There is an argument to be made that items 4 & 5 also are warning signs for the Legionaries (if it is proven, for instance, that Maciel used subterfuge to gain initial approval between the death of one pope and the election of another; and, if it is true that those who profess to the Legionaries are called too soon to place all possessions "in common"). At the same time, I personally do not know if Legionaries are subjected to "special" or "severe" penances (item 8, Morrisey). Items 9 & 10, might also apply if one were to believe that celebrating the Founder's birthday and ordination day count as "multiplicity of devotions" that do not point toward Christ; or if one feels that the Legionary dedication to ministering especially to the "rich" constitutes a "fringe" element within the life of the Church. Finally, item 15 does not seem to apply, as, according the Mr. Vere's commentary, it seems to address itself to illicit sexual activity as a basis for membership, not to illicit sexual activity as a reason for the foundation (which, in Maciel's case, seems to be a big motivator in starting his congregation). Mr. Vere provides the list and notes that a single red-flag or warning sign is reason to be wary of any group. And lest you think that these lists were compiled with the Legionaries in mind, Morrisey developed his warning signs, as far as my cursory research reveals, independently of any specific concerns about the Legionaries -- Mr. Vere provides something of Fr. Morrisey's credentials, and an internet search for Fr. Morrisey reveals reference--scholarly and otherwise--to his work with no connection to the Legionaries. So far as I have been able to discover, Fr. Morrisey has never written specifically about the Legionaries). Dr. Langone produced his list, it seems, as a result of the study of many cults--perhaps including the Legionaries of Christ, but on this point I have no evidence. The fact that the Legionaries (including the RC consecrated and the various RC lay-groups themselves) possess so many warning signs (I personally have observed 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 11, 12, and 13) ought to be considered by any current or former member of the Legionaries or Regnum Christi and ought to be part of what the Visitators consider in their evaluation of the Legionaries. As a person who worked with RC members for about 5 years and attended a week long conference sponsored by the Legionaries for educators, (as well as spiritual retreat, another conference, and numerous RC apostolate activities) I can affirm the warning signs I listed from personal observation. In fact, during my association with Regnum Christi as a non-member who worked very closely in a position of authority in one of their apostolates, I had no knowledge of the above lists of warning-signs, and yet felt keenly at times that something simply was amiss. I had many conversations with RC members about my misgivings (never couched as complaints, by the way) in which I walked away rather astonished at the level of ignorance regarding Catholic teaching that the RC members seemed to exhibit. On the surface, they all seemed to be eagerly devoted to living fully authentic Catholic lives, regardless of their station in life. And yet, their priorities--especially regarding their own true vocations (the vast majority I knew were married), seemed, by varying degrees, wrong. The inordinate amount of time some seemed to spend on "apostolates" for RC and their regard for their sacramental relationships to spouses or their natural and supernatural roles as parents as second to promises made to the Legionaries, in one form or another, seemed contrary to basic Catholic teaching in more than a few cases. This, despite their constant reassurances that their priorities were: 1) marriage and family, 2) their professions, and 3) their RC apostolates. The reality seemed to illustrate a different order. But I told myself, "Well, we only see a slice of the lives of others, no matter how much time we spend with them." In a few cases (sadly, only a few), I did see people involved with RC who seemed to manage balanced lives--and yet, these few were never people in positions of authority within the ranks of RC. Never. In any event, my hope is that Mr. Vere's work, and Fr. Morrisey's and Dr. Langone's insights, might help others really and truthfully evaluate or re-evaluate their experience with the Legionaries or Regnum Christi. These must come to terms with the fact that Maciel's scandal is not merely one of the biggest to hit the Church in recent times: it is, perhaps, unique in Church history. Co-founders? Co-founders of what? August 23, 2009 in Cultish behaviour, Discernment, LC/RC personality, RC apostolates | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0) "Look at us!" Father and daughter Like father, like daughters. Just as MM always presented himself as both perfect Legionary and model of vocational discernment, the consecrata are using themselves as model and inspiration for others. I debated whether to post this, being so, um, negative, but I think it needs to be said. Consider what Pete points out here: Why does a woman choose consecrated life over a business career, husband and family or the opportunity to compete as a world-class athlete? The CD gives the answers. As in Abraham's day, God continues to call, and souls continue to answer. The new CD "Count the Stars," created by the Regnum Christi consecrated women in Greenville, RI, tells the story of four women who heard that call and answered with their lives. On the new CD, Luly Fernández and Lauren Hawkesworth both read their stories in first-person. Lisa Small reads Mary Maher's story, while Stephanie Kielhorn reads Dorrie Donahue's. The "Count the Stars" audio book also features an original song, "Question Answered," composed by the sophomore class at Mater Ecclesiae College, the institution of higher learning where the consecrated women of Regnum Christi prepare for their life of service to the Catholic Church. The CDs are on sale at the price of one for $15 or two for $25. For online or credit card payment options, or if you have other questions and comments, please contact Susan Girard at .... It could be argued that this is no different than the Nashville Dominicans or the Sisters of Life campaigns that show smiling women to entice inquiries, but this comes across differently. First of all, these girls are very young. Many have pointed out the dearth of older 3GF's, although they have supposedly been around since the 1960's. There were three I knew of over forty, and one of those has since died. (Mrs Mee doesn't count for obvious reasons.) The takeaway from this is: We could have had money and prestige, which makes us special; We are the model of generosity, just listen to our stories; We are forging a new path in the Church that you'll find amazing; We are God's gift to the Third Millennium -- just listen! Our virtue has made us walking "stars" and you can be one too! Our parish has lovely older Religious who teach in our Catholic school and CCD programs (have for decades) and I could never ever imagine them tooting their horn this way. They do their quiet work of asking girls to consider Religious life, but never with themselves as yardsticks of oblation. Giving a life is giving a life -- no matter what you've given up. The selling point with testimonies I heard over the years always promoted the 3GF "rock stars" that gave up six figure incomes, athletic careers or diamonds the size of Gibraltar as indications of their "worth" to the Movement. Wrong and bad. Some have defended the CD as a way to put necessary food on the table. I would remind the astute reader that the Legion just purchased another college, which may have been an imprudent decision if it had hungry members already. As for encouraging vocations to a movement under investigation, we've covered that territory already. (Likewise, the fact that these women aren't even really "consecrated" as they think has been discussed, and the fact they know so little about an authentic spiritual maturation process is obvious.) The point I'm making is that very good and conscientious young women have no scruples about self-promotion and self-congratulation about virtue and worth -- because that's what they learned at the feet of their spiritual father. I wish them well, but that wellness must come about "apart from the founder -- and all his pomps and works." Father and daughter2 August 23, 2009 in Consecration, Elitism, LC/RC personality | Permalink | Comments (41) | TrackBack (0) "Follow me," says MM A commenter on another blog points out that the LC's still rely on the founder to help with the discernment process: 9) Can a child or adolescent freely choose his vocation in a Legionary apostolic school? “You have to give teenagers the space they need to make their choice the way God wants it to happen-- that is, in an atmosphere of complete freedom. But freedom, for it to be such, also implies letting grace do its work in their souls. In other words, there has to be an atmosphere of prayer, openness to hearing God’s call, reception of the Sacraments, and the respectful, kind, and careful presence of the formators [...]. My experience of over sixty years working with priestly vocations brings home to me the marvel of God’s grace acting in the soul of the chosen person, which surprises you and surpasses any human outlook [...]. I am, then, convinced that a teenager and even a child is capable of clearly sensing God’s call in his soul. Obviously this calling must be studied and verified. The seed God sows in a young person’s soul must grow and mature. This takes time, and his freedom needs space to make a proper choice. Does making space for true freedom mean offering teenager environments that lead him to sin and thus distance him from God? Isn’t sin the only real slavery? It is grace that creates space for freedom. This is the ‘space’ we make in our vocational centers.” (Testimony of Father Maciel in Christ Is My Life, Question 62) 10) Is the priestly vocation in the Legion a way to authentic happiness and fulfillment? Definitely it is. For those whom God has called to be Legionaries, the priestly vocation is a way to authentic happiness and fulfillment. God is Love and he is faithful to his promises. He is able to fulfill completely the deep desire to love and be loved that is the essence of human happiness. “Every day it is more obvious, when we go deeper into the hearts of men, that we are made for God and that it is impossible to be happy outside of him (...) Love Christ, love Christ, love Christ. Live only for Him...” (Father Maciel, LC). I find it, um, problematic -- to say the least, that they allow the words of a pederast, fornicator, and scam artist to remain on a site soliciting young boys. Of course, the advice is at most a string of truisms which are sullied by being on his tongue. [If you've forgotten the details on the book cited, go here.] UPDATE: Speaking of formation, an intrepid reader brings this passage from Envoy to our attention: Recently, I have been thinking with great sorrow about the ruinous effect our tendentious concern to cultivate our own personality has on the Kingdom of Christ. Theoretically and from only a human point of view, there would be a lot to dicsuss on the matter; but considering it practically and from a supernatural point of view, it is necessary and fundamental to do away with our selves, so as to be able to take our first step on the road to our transformation into Jesus Christ. I have made sure to give my life to Jesus Christ without deceit or restrictions because we have only on life and we live it only once (Marcial Maciel, Envoy, #19). virtualrealporn vrbangers momsfamilysecrets porkvendors dadcreep familydick camboys shereacts August 22, 2009 in Discernment | Permalink | Comments (18) | TrackBack (0)